Appalachian Food Celebrating Appalachia Videos

How to Make Butter the Old Time Way

making butter

A few weeks back I got my good friend Carolyn Anderson to demonstrate how her mother made butter when she was a child—well almost.

When Carolyn was a child her family had a milk cow so they made butter from that wonderful fresh cream. Since neither Carolyn nor I have access to fresh milk today she used whipping cream.

The other variation is she uses a food processor instead of a churn.

I hope you enjoyed Carolyn’s demonstration. The butter is so good! I had previously made butter with whipping cream and a food processor, but I did not know the other steps Carolyn shared.

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  • Reply
    October 29, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    I remember my Grandad sitting on the front porch making butter with the old cedar churn. When Granny bought one of the newfangled glass jar churns I got to sit at the kitchen table and turn the handle. Real butter and sorghum on a hot homemade biscuit can’t be beat.

  • Reply
    Glenda C. Beall
    October 26, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    I learned to make butter from my mother who made the best! I remember shaking it in a quart jar, the cream that is, until it began to lump up. Mother always washed it several times before putting it into a mold. I couldn’t wait for it to get firm before I had to have some on a biscuit. I have bought butter which was said to be home made fresh, but it was awful tasting to me. I might try your way and see what happens. I just wonder if you can get good tasting butter from cream that has been pasteurized. Mother’s butter had that slightly sour taste that made it special.

  • Reply
    MARTHA childers
    October 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    I have an old churn but don’t use it for butter because I would never use all of it because of the amount of milk I would need do just cover the dasher. I usually just shake mine in a jar. I never have buttermilk left though after working the butter, it is just thin sweet milk. Is it because I don’t let it sit out long enough? I remember Mama putting her milk in the churn and wrapping the top with a clean rag and placing it near the fireplace but don’t know how long she left it. Sadly mama and all the kin folks who could tell me are gone. Do I just need to let the cream sit out long enough to sour? Although I live in Alabama we talk very much alike (okrey). It must be because my ancestors migrated from Virginia to North Carolina then on to Georgia and Alabama. When my sister got married to a yankee, she completely changed her way of talking and pronouncing her words. We used to make fun of her behind her back. I could never change my accent and don’t want to. I have lived many places in the U S and had a lot of people say they loved my accent.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      Martha-Thank you for the comment! You would need fresh milk for there to be buttermilk left-after you let it sit out. See Ed Ammons comment below

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    October 26, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    That was a great video. I have never made butter with a food processor before, but that makes me want to try it. When I used to make butter I made it in a large churn which was quite heavy and would not fit into the sink. I think this way would be much easier. Can you tell any difference in the taste from making it the old way?

  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Thanks to both you ladies for teaching this old lady something new today!

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    October 26, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Very interesting video. Makes me want to try my hand at making butter. Thank you Carolyn and Tipper!

  • Reply
    Sallie, The Apple Doll Lady
    October 26, 2020 at 10:25 am

    That was great! Thanks to both of you. I’ve never used a food processor to make butter but might. I have used an electric mixer. We made butter for demonstrations at events at the Tn Ag Museum by mixing equal parts commercial buttermilk and heavy cream that had sat at room temperature overnight. It was churned in a glass paddle-type churn. Before state regulations changed samples were given on crackers. I’ve also let children shake a little of the mixture in a baby food jar. In fact to make sure it worked I shook some In a little jar on my drive in to work one day. I still have Mothers’s electric churn but no access to fresh milk due to health regulations. I’m not sure I would chance the electric wires since it hasn’t been used in years. I even found and bought a new crock churn just like hers (the owner said it was her mother’s) because hers has several repaired cracks. The cracks might have been from the time her churn slipped out of her hand and spilled onto the floor. She said at first she didn’t know how to clean up the mess and then thought of the litter of puppies outside. She brought them in (animals were never allowed in the house) and they seemed happy to help. She used ice water to wash her butter and always said that it wouldn’t keep if you didn’t wash all the milk out of it. I remember my grandmother calling the artificial stuff oleo. She never called it margarine. Nothing tastes as good as homemade butter from rich cream. I’m sure your post today has stirred up lots of memories.

  • Reply
    Kan in a.w. mo.
    October 26, 2020 at 10:14 am

    When my brother and me were younger we would put the cream that had been saved in a mason jar and we would roll it back and forth while setting on the floor and it would make butter that way

  • Reply
    Ken Rinehuls
    October 26, 2020 at 10:01 am


  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for sharing the great video. I have made butter with whipping cream and squeezed out the excess cream but didn’t know about the washing steps. Leaving the cream out for a day or so was something else I learned from Carolyn. There is a little country store in my hometown that still sells fresh churned butter. It is snow white and exactly like mom used to churn. It’s too expensive to buy often, so I will try Carolyn’s method of making butter.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I remember my Mother talking about churning and making butter. If she was here now, I think she would think that the food processor was a wonderful invention. I always use real butter rather than margarine. I sure enjoyed the video.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    October 26, 2020 at 8:12 am

    I really enjoyed this video! Carolyn and you are a pretty good team together in the kitchen! You’re both wonderful ladies! I liked the butter washing and final result. I just know you two ladies enjoyed a hot biscuit smothered in the butter!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    October 26, 2020 at 7:58 am

    It’s been so many years ago since that I had fresh homemade butter that I can’t remember what it taste like compared to store bought butter. Real butter is what we always eat instead of margarine. I believe it’s much better for your health than the phony butters.
    Tipper, that was very interesting.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 7:22 am

    That beats my Grandmother’s churn for sure.
    I didn’t remember the washing of the butter.
    I live between two dairy farms, now you have me wanting to try it with fresh milk.
    Great video/interview !

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 26, 2020 at 6:45 am

    I sure did not know that you can make butter from pasteurized cream!

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      October 26, 2020 at 10:04 am

      You can make real butter with pasteurized cream if you have a starter to add to make it sour with the right bacteria. Add a little cultured buttermilk or plain yoghurt to serve as a starter then let it sit out and stay warm for a day or two. That makes cultured butter. If you don’t use a starter, cream might not sour properly. Pasteurization kills all the bacteria in the milk. Milk directly from a cow contains the right bacteria to sour but if you kill it then you have to put it back.
      Butter made with souring the milk is called sweet cream butter. Sweet cream butter is what is mostly what we see in stores. Cultured cream can be found but it is more expensive.
      Most whipping cream has added ingredients. Carrageenan, mono & diglycerides and polysorbate 80 are what I found on the carton in my refrigerator. I don’t know if that would still be in the butter or would be washed out in the water. The butter carton in my fridge only says cream and salt.

      • Reply
        Ed Ammons
        October 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm

        “Butter made with souring the milk”. I meant to say without souring the milk!

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    October 26, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Great video enjoyed it ….Carolyn did a fine job. Tks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    October 26, 2020 at 6:15 am

    I remember when my Aunt Minnie Mauney Teague got the first electric churn in the neighborhood. All the women came to see it work………some shaking their head and saying,” It’ll never make butter like my old churn”. And some saying, “What will they think of next.”. And with that, I’m on my way to Bryson City…..

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